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October 13, 2005

Morse Center symposium features Peterson Zah, former Navajo Nation president

Morse Center symposium features Peterson Zah, former Navajo Nation president

Peterson Zah Peterson Zah, American Indian affairs advisor to Arizona State University’s president since 1995, will speak on the Navajo Sovereignty in Education Act of 2005 at the University of Oregon’s Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics on Thursday, October 20.

Zah, former president of the Navajo Nation, will deliver the keynote address for the
center’s Sovereignty and Native Education Symposium at 7:00 P.M. in Room 175 of the
Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate Street on the UO campus in Eugene.

The symposium includes afternoon panel sessions in the Many Nations Longhouse at 1630 Columbia Street directly behind the law school.

Elizabeth Furse Symposium panelists include:

Elizabeth Furse,  former member of Congress and current director of the Institute for Tribal Governance at the Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University; Annie Tester, principal of the Nixyaawii Community School, Pendleton, Oregon; Debbie LaCroix, cultural curriculum adviser at Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon;  and the Honorable David Harding, tribal court judge from Spokane,Chemawa campusWashington.

A lifelong advocate for Native American education, Zah was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in Low Mountain, Arizona.  He had little contact with the world outside the reservation until stories of Navajo soldiers who had served in World War II inspi red him to get an education and return to help his people.

Zah enrolled at the Phoenix Indian School in 1953 and received a  bachelor’s degree in education from Arizona State University in 1963. Early in his career, he taught at Window Rock High School. While serving as executive director of a nonprofit Indian legal services program, Zah established widespread community education programs.

The symposium will explore topical issues concerning Native American education, including the new generation of Indian-run schools designed to preserve traditional knowledge and provide quality education for tribal youth. Panelists also will discuss sovereignty, the troubled history of boarding schools, and current legislation and initiatives.

The symposium and the keynote speech are free and open to the public. Registration is not required. 


-Kim Mangun

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